Entrepreneurship driving growth of township economies
Township economies are often forgotten as opportunity-laden contributors to our economy. Many people underestimate their importance.
The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism realises the importance of township economies and the need for creating an enabling environment for promoting entrepreneurship in the Western Cape.
But what makes township economies so special?
Urban areas aren’t the only drivers of South Africa’s economy. Township economies contribute to the overall economy in important ways. They cater specifically to economic growth in non-urban areas, ensuring that growth isn’t limited primarily to urban clusters. Not all economic activity takes place in central business districts (CBD’s) and urban hubs. Township economies promote and foster job creation in more rural, non-urban areas where the majority of the population lives. Through products and services tailored for local communities they serve; township businesses offer unique experiences and more importantly provide for immediate accessibility. Thus, customers get to see first-hand what’s available, what’s new and innovative and potential customers are given the opportunity to get access to goods and services right on their doorsteps instead of having to go to the traditional commercial centres outside of the townships.
Township businesses are local and “lekker”
Gather ‘round, coffee lovers! Based in Khayelitsha, The Department of Coffee has come a long way since having their business robbed and vandalised in 2016. The business has grown from a single-trailer barista coffee shop to an official academy where unemployed youth are trained to be entrepreneurs and how to open coffee shops of their own. They offer a fresh take on your average cuppa Joe with their unique roasted blends and aim to create a quality coffee-drinking culture in the community which - before their initiative - was accustomed to drinking instant coffee for warmth and energy. Rest assured, as The Department of Coffee moves forward, it will do so with a caffeine-fuelled pep in its step.
“To usher in an era of culinary modernisation”. This was the goal of Estratweni Mobile Foods, operating from Gugulethu. Passionate in their creation of mouth-watering dishes, Estratweni Mobile Foods is a street food social enterprise jointly founded by foodies Siphumeza “Space” Ramncwana and Siphamandla “Blax” Mavumengwane. Famous for ridiculously low prices and excellent customer service, the business employs local youth with petty crime records in an attempt to reintegrate them into society in a productive way. The duo’s aim is to bring the variety of cuisine seen in the CBD into township spaces; to give a more extensive dining experience to residents of Gugulethu. Estratweni Mobile Foods currently has four food trailers and employs ten staff members to date, and shows no sign of letting up as they keep reaching higher. Their advice to entrepreneurs looking to start their own food business is simple: “Just start!”.
See the Mail & Guardian supplement on Township Economy
For more information please call the Red Tape Reduction Helpline: 0861 888 126